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To get frustrated with my husband sitting in his armchair for 14 hours a day !

(39 Posts)
vickymeldrew Mon 30-Aug-21 12:50:20

My husband of 51 years has never been one to go out much, go on holidays, entertain or have hobbies.
He has diverticulitis and dizzy spells. Two years ago he had a heart valve replaced. Since his surgery he has retreated to his armchair and spends most of the day either playing games on his tablet or watching television.
I have always tried to be sympathetic to his illness and have taken over most of the jobs in the house. Unfortunately this seems to have made matters worse as he enjoys being waited on and expects me to do virtually everything.
He will do some things if I specifically ask him to, for example, make a coffee or prepare vegetables but immediately sits down again when he has done that.
We have 3 adult children and six grandchildren. When they visit he enjoys seeing them, but is very much in his chair waiting for them to come to him.
I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with his lack of consideration . I would like us to be more of a partnership.

nanasam Mon 30-Aug-21 12:56:18

He's got the life of Riley, hasn't he? Waited on hand and foot, no jobs to do, I'm not surprised he doesn't leave his chair! First thing I'd do is to go out more on my own, lunch with friends and so on, telling him he'll have to get his own lunch. Find yourself too busy doing his jobs to see to him. Go to a friend's overnight - he'll soon remember what it's like to be in a partnership. Good luck grin

tanith Mon 30-Aug-21 12:56:51

That must be very frustrating, can you not get him out for a walk if he’s physically able? Fresh air and exercise with a different view would help both of you. If he really won’t move himself then get yourself out and do your own thing, when my husband was very ill, too ill to walk he would send me out to a local cafe nearby and id get a nice coffee and watch the world go by for a break.
Sorry if that sounds a bit feeble.

midgey Mon 30-Aug-21 13:00:24

Live your own life! Let him sit while you go and do ‘stuff’ without him. Either he will join you (eventually) or he will continue his sedentary life, trouble is tv and tablets can suck up a great deal of time without you realising!

Esspee Mon 30-Aug-21 13:04:16

The solution surely is to stop pandering to him. You are enabling the situation and it looks like only you will be able to alter the status quo.

GillT57 Mon 30-Aug-21 13:04:17

Diverticultis is no reason to spend the day in a chair ( I know, I have it), in fact it is improved by moving around, keeping the digestive system moving, sitting is not good. Why not some sort of compromise? Maybe let him sit and do what he wants for a couple of hours, then get him up and moving, maybe shoving the vacuum around, or walking to the shop to get a paper, then back into the chair? I am a lazy sod, and it is only guilt that keeps me from sitting in a chair with a good book all day!

dragonfly46 Mon 30-Aug-21 13:09:27

My DH could do this all day if I let him but I make him go out every day. Some days we just go for a walk and others we go out for coffee. He always feels better for going out.

BlueBelle Mon 30-Aug-21 13:11:09

Maybe he’s more ill than you realise, dizzy spells are horrible and (he’s obviously had heart problems) as you can easily fall and/ or lose your confidence Presuming your husband isn’t a spring chicken if you’ve been married 51 years and maybe he has aged in a different way to you
If he’s never been very sociable or a goer outer he isn’t going to change now is he ? and you ve obviously loved him enough to have stayed for 51 years
I d let him do what chores he can sitting down…. preparing veg, folding washing, cleaning the family silver ? etc etc
As Tanith says do your own thing part of the time, meet up for a coffee with a friend, go for a walk, perhaps a bit of voluntary work to get you out the house
But he’s not going to change now if he’s always tended to be a ‘sitter’/watcher

MissElly Mon 30-Aug-21 13:15:23

I very much feel your frustration but after 51 years I suspect the only change you’ll be able to make is in your own attitude! I think you will have to leave him to his own devices a bit more and go off and do things for yourself. Necessity might make him do more but even then, probably not much! Why would he change, it sounds like life is great for him but feeling like this is not going to do much for you or your health. Maybe you could start a hobby with a friend, start/join a book club or whatever interests you. Difficult at the moment I know but otherwise you risk ending up being a carer with no other outlets, which doesn’t sound like what you want. Good luck!

M0nica Mon 30-Aug-21 13:34:50

Start by stopping the chair service. let him make his own hot drinks duringthe day, go out and buy anything he wants for himself, from the morning paper to clothes.

Get yourself some outside activity, anything from the WI, to an art class, to the local family history society. Meet friends. visit local small towns and walk round them getting to know them.

Just grab any opportunity to leave him to look after himself. Say you are tired of cooking and now want to share it 50:50, one week he does it (including shopping) one week you do it.

eazybee Mon 30-Aug-21 13:55:32

All the suggestions involve the poster leaving the house and finding activities to do; all the chores remain for her to once she is home.
A showdown is called for; I would unplug the TV and confiscate the tablet for a start because I really couldn't stand television noise all day. Draw up a list of chores to be done whilst you are out: preparing a meal, using the washing machine, ironing, then supervise him hoovering and cleaning when you are home in case he does have a dizzy spell.
Sitting in a chair for 14 hours a day is not good for his health anyway.

Zoejory Mon 30-Aug-21 13:58:39

Maybe he's scared. Scared of his heart stopping. Scared of falling. Who knows.

It's a shame for you both but I don't think you should be doing anything too drastic.

annodomini Mon 30-Aug-21 13:58:40

Does he have a diagnosis for the dizzy spells? There can be many reasons for these. He could have been looking them up on the net and worrying about them unnecessarily. Suggest he gets himself checked out by your GP and perhaps find a remedy.

Scones Mon 30-Aug-21 16:09:05

You don't say in your post if you've actually spoken to him about how you're feeling and your frustrations. If you've always tried to be sympathetic, perhaps he doesn't know you are in any way unhappy with things.

An honest conversation might be a good start.

DiscoDancer1975 Mon 30-Aug-21 16:36:47

I would be worried about the dizzy spells. As annodomini says, is there a diagnosis for these? If it’s vertigo would be impossible for him to do things during the attack. If they’re frequent, then you’re not over one before the next starts. Diverticulitis also can be very debilitating.

If these things don’t impact on his life as much as that, one dizzy spell a week for example, then you need to stop waiting on him. As others have said...go out and do something for yourself. He’ll soon learn then.

wildswan16 Mon 30-Aug-21 16:46:54

Having any kind of "heart" problem can really scare people and make them ultra-cautious about doing anything at all.

I think you need to accompany him when he next visits the GP and just start a conversation with the doctor about how little he is doing, and would it be OK for him to do more??

I don't think he is necessarily being lazy at all, but his character sounds like he was a fairly laid back kind of person even before his illness. So some gentle persuasion and encouragement might be called for.

M0nica Mon 30-Aug-21 17:13:51

Sitting all day, is just about the worst thing you can do if you have a heart problem, it is more like to hasten death than delay it.

After DH's bypass op during lockdown, the rehabilitation people were on at him daily to check how far he had been walking and encouraging (hectoring) him. His op was followed by a hospital acquired infection, resistant to anti biotics, three more operations and six more weeks in hospital and he only had one fully functioning lung, but they weren't impressed, still wanted him to do more and more walking, preferably at a brisk pace aand kept talking about the dangers of inactivity.

HolySox Mon 30-Aug-21 17:19:39

I agree with wildswan16 and think his heart op has affected him. Probably scared if he does anything too physical his heart will fail. Talk to your GP. It may be sitting doing nothing may be the more dangerous thing to do! Gentle exercise might be more beneficial. Are there things you used to do you could do again, together ... like walking to a cafe?
Has COVID been a factor? We've done short country walks to avoid people and are still wary of public places.

Redhead56 Mon 30-Aug-21 19:28:04

He does need exercise I would definitely go out more and would make him have to do things. Don’t leave lunches or snacks before you go out tell him what’s on offer. He will have to get up and prepare it himself and tell him to clean up after him. If you became ill the house would come to a standstill. Yes he has been ill but now he is in a rut and he needs to snap out of it.

Cabbie21 Mon 30-Aug-21 19:45:52

This could almost be my DH! Different health conditions, but he spends most of the day in his chair, either watching TV or snoozing, or at his desk in his study. He does have lots of interests and hobbies but only does the sedentary ones these days. He does prepare all the veg, and helps to dish up. He gets his own breakfast and salad lunch, but that’s it. No housework of any sort. He is responsible for the garden but rarely does anything. It is a mess.
I have my own interests and social life, Covid permitting, but i do worry. I accept that health conditions can be debilitating. Pain is invisible, and so is dizziness, and should not be belittled. But it can also be an excuse.
Sorry, I have no advice to offer.

MawBe Mon 30-Aug-21 20:27:01

I have such mixed feelings about your predicament. Without knowing the extent of your DH’s heart surgery - open heart or TAVI? His age and the extent of the dizzy spells, it is hard to criticise. Heart surgery can cause a massive loss of confidence but gentle exercise is clearly better than sitting in a chair all day.
Did he undergo cardiac rehab after the valve replacement? That is supervised and carefully adapted to those with heart issues.
But on the other hand, many (older) men do not cook, prep vegetables or do much in the way of housework. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Get a cleaner and reduce the pressure on yourself.

sodapop Mon 30-Aug-21 20:40:19

I agree with MawBe your husband is afraid and has lost confidence. You need to talk to him and reach some compromise. Small amount of exercise to start with, help in the house for you. Talk to your Dr or cardiac nurse about how much exercise your husband should be doing,. Have some time away from the house doing things you enjoy as well.

vickymeldrew Mon 30-Aug-21 22:46:55

Thanks everyone for your sympathetic and practical responses. My DH’s surgery was open heart and I appreciate he may be scared to exert himself. I feel justified in coaxing him out of his armchair and letting him fend for himself more.
A frank discussion is needed.

JenniferEccles Mon 30-Aug-21 22:48:16

Apart from anything else, doesn’t your husband get incredibly bored spending his days just sitting?
As human beings we are supposed to be active. Yes I accept he has health problems and probably wouldn’t be able to walk miles each day but it’s so important for everyone to keep as active as possible within their own capabilities.

Sitting around too long inevitably leads to weight gain, which as we all know is bad news for our health.

Could he be persuaded to accompany you on a walk if you ended up, say, in a cafe for a coffee or lunch to break up the walk? He would obviously have to be careful if he is liable to dizzy spells, but that doesn’t mean spending all day and every day lounging around.

I agree with others who say you should get out and do what you want to do each day, but that would only work if you know that you will come back to chores having been done, including the evening meal prepared.

It’s a good job you don’t decide to also do nothing all day isn’t it?!

Luckygirl Mon 30-Aug-21 22:58:01

Perhaps get out and about yourself a bit more and leave him to his own devices. He may find he begins to have the confidence to do things for himself if he knows you are not there to do them. Dizziness is very scary.